Dear Members of St. John’s,
In the shadow of the cross and the light of the empty tomb we are God’s people, by His grace joyful in all circumstances and most grateful for His love.
This week we are reminded of the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made for us and the assurance we have of heaven through His death and resurrection. Let us seek to stay connected to God through each other, through His Word, and through the sacrament of Holy Communion as we relive the events of Holy Week.
Staying Connected to God Through Each Other
I want to thank those that responded to my invitation last week to submit the name of your company or business so we can pray for those affected by the economic downturn. We have sent that information to the St. John’s prayer team so they can pray for the companies, their leaders, and their employees as they navigate through this uncertain period. We also want to say “thank you” and pray for protection for all of the front line healthcare workers including several who are members of St. John’s. They are selfless workers who are taking care of those infected by the virus. Finally, we want to pray that those working in grocery stores, gas stations, and the like are protected from the virus while they work to keep things going.
While God is in control, He wants to hear from us!
Staying Connected to God Through His Word
This is Holy Week, the week that Jesus gave His life to pay for our sins – what a blessing! To help remind us of the events leading to the cross and the empty tomb, I will provide a taped message on Good Friday and Easter Sunday that can be viewed through the St. John’s website. I encourage you to take the time and listen to God’s word through this medium to stay connected to Him.
As a reminder, I would again point you to other programs that are wonderful ways to hear God’s Word. Specifically, the Lutheran Hour radio program and other resources are available at lutheranhour.org. Also, Worship Anew is a series of taped services from Lutheran Ministries Media at worshipanew.org.
Staying Connected to God Through the Sacrament of Holy Communion
For the last two Sundays, we have distributed Holy Communion using our “Walk-In, Family-Isolated” (WiFi) process. This week, we are going to expand it to include communion on Maundy Thursday, placing of the nails in the cross on Good Friday, and communion on Easter Sunday so that we stay connected to the events of Holy Week:
Maundy Thursday (4/9) 6-7 p.m. WiFi Communion
Good Friday (4/10) 6-7 p.m. WiFi Placing of the Nails in the Cross (no Communion)
Easter Sunday (4/12) 9-11 a.m. WiFi Communion
Again, to be clear, we are not gathering as a congregation. We are simply providing a means to stay connected to the events of Holy Week one family at a time through a safe, peaceful, sheltered, and familiar setting. For communion, I will have already consecrated the bread and the wine by the time you arrive. You may enter the St. John’s parking lot, follow the car line, and remain in your car. Once your car gets to the front of the line at the front doors of the church, you may leave your car under the direction of an elder, enter the narthex, receive the bread and wine from me or place a nail in the cross (on Good Friday), return to your car, and then exit the parking lot. The process has been designed as a sanitary, non-touch, safely spaced experience providing a peaceful, familiar environment for prayerful self-examination as you participate in these events.
Finally, as I’ve stated before, we depend on you for financial support during these uncertain times to help with our financial obligations and outreach support. For those of you that plan to participate in the WiFi events above, you may bring your offering and drop it in the basket there. If you are not currently an online giver, we encourage you to visit the electronic giving section of our website at https://stjohnslexington.org/worship/electronic-giving/ and download the app, or you can simply mail your check directly to St. John’s. For those of you that have been using the Givelify app, please note that we have now changed over to a new, lower cost app (i.e. more of your offering goes to St. John’s, less to the app). As you access the electronic giving section of our website, you will notice that change.
In this holiest of weeks, as we live with the realities of our world, we also live in the abundance of grace from the One who gave Himself to save us. For us, such grace is always sufficient, assuring us that His care will cover all things needful for us.
April 11 update: In response to Governor Beshear’s announcement yesterday targeting in-person church services, this is a reminder that our Walk-In Family-Isolated (WiFi) Communion is not an in-person service or gathering. It is a drive-in process that adheres to the social distancing guidelines. So we still plan to offer WiFi communion this Easter Sunday from 9-11 a.m. as communicated by Pastor’s email earlier this week.